27 Jun Top 5 Ways To Prepare For a Corporate Video Shoot
Regardless of the size of your operation, every business can benefit from video. It’s the quickest and easiest way for your customers to gain a sense of who you are, what you do and how you work.
We recently went through the process of creating a new video for the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) which required filming in several different locations with 10 different people, some who had little or no experience with being on camera. Along the way, we picked up some great ideas that we believe are helpful for anyone looking to make their own video. While creating video is no easy feat, here are five things you can do to make the process as smooth (and fun!) as possible.
1. Define your audience.
Who’s going to be watching your video? Do they already know about your company/product or are you looking to educate them on what you do? Defining your audience will help to better determine your needs throughout the production. Hopefully, by this stage, you’ve identified why you want to make a video, so defining your audience should be relatively easy.
The video that we created for the SWA was used at a conference of SWA members and the interviewees were SWA members themselves. The video was to fill at 10-minute time slot and designed to promote to existing members how the SWA has helped other members what the advantages to it. Once we understood who the audience was and what they needed to see, it made the later steps of the process much easier.
It may seem like a small task, but understanding who you’ll be tailoring your video towards will save a lot of time, money and effort in the long run.
2. Discover where your video is going to be shown prior to the shoot.
There are several places where your customers could watch your video, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Conferences, your website, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Each of these playback locations has different audience demographics, are viewed on different devices and have technical limitations.
Our SWA video was going to be shown at a conference. Before interview questions were written we researched the preferred length of the video, the resolution and format of the screen the video will be shown on and who would be watching the video.
We discovered the following:
- The video would be introduced by a speaker who had a 15-minute time slot, they wanted the video to fill up as much of their time slot as possible whilst still being engaging.
- The video would be shown on a 4:3 projector, which meant we needed to give ourselves a bit more room in the frame the edges for reframing from 16:9 format to 4:3.
- The video would be watched by SWA members. So the content didn’t need to be full of the basic information and benefits of the SWA as the audience already knew that.
3. Construct a shot list
Simply create a basic excel spreadsheet with three columns titles, Scene / Shot Number, Location and Description, and define each of them. For our SWA video, where possible we scouted each location beforehand, looked at the available space, noted down where power sockets were and took some photos.
Your shot list works as a quick reference sheet during your shoot, use it to remind you of important details like if a fire drill is due to happen, what you want in the shot, the size of the room, etc The most important thing here is to have a strong description of what you’re trying to achieve with each shot. Having this list fleshed out properly now will allow you to focus more on actual production later.
Here’s a quick snapshot of how the shot mentioned above turned out:
Depending on how complicated or detailed your video is going to be, you might also consider adding the following information to your spreadsheet:
Shot type: Wide shot, close up etc
Additional notes: props, makeup, special requirements
Time: ‘Interviewee has a strict time slot of 20 minutes, please allow 30 minutes setup time prior’
It doesn’t need to be overly complicated, you just need to make sure that you have your ideas down on paper so that you’ll stay organised throughout the production stage of your project and you can concentrate on capturing a great interview on the day of filming.
4. Learn how to direct Non-Actors
Chances are you’re likely dealing with real people, not actors. As a result, most of your talent will feel uncomfortable or vulnerable on camera.
No matter how outgoing you are, it’s scary to get on camera! So as the director, it’s on you to keep your talent as comfortable as possible.
- Kick people out – Get everyone out of the room except for you and the talent. No bosses and no one checking their email on their iPhone.
- Keep the room at a nice cool temperature – Turn the air conditioning on cold prior and in-between takes to keep the room cool. In the summer and if you are using hot lights, things can get pretty warm!
- Prepare your equipment – Try your best to have everything ready to roll, so that you can concentrate on directing (not adjusting) when the talent arrives.
- Have water at the ready – Dry mouth + nerves = awkward performance.
- Remove unnecessary gear – The more minimal the setup, the better.
- Schedule extra time – All sorts of unpredictable things can happen during a shoot. Fire alarms, aeroplanes flying overhead, batteries dying, zombie invasions, etc.
- Remind your talent of the editing process – They should know that imperfection is totally acceptable. Editing can go a long way.
- Keep the energy light and upbeat – Try your best to make the talent smile and relax. If you have to dance around or make a fool out of yourself, do it for the good of the team.
As a director, there’s a delicate balance between being critical and encouraging, but if you see doubt creeping onto your talent’s face, be quick on the draw to squash it.
Sincere encouragement goes a long way. Say things like, “hey, you’re doing a good job,” and “relax, you got this.” When they hit a line and start to get on a roll, let them know. The more positive reinforcement, the better.
Perhaps most importantly, if your talent is hitting rock bottom, and they can’t get out of their own head, tell them to take a moment to shake it out. You might have to start jumping around and shaking your arms yourself to get your talent moving, but it’s worth it.
When the video’s all done and ready to share, make sure to let your talent know that they did a great job as the subject. Building their confidence over time will result in more successful future shoots.
Pretty soon, you’ll have people asking to be in your company’s videos.
5. Create a call sheet
This nifty little document has saved us about a million times from steering the production process off course.
It seems very similar to the shot list, we actually combine them, but this document includes more details, such as scheduling, equipment and contact information. Creating a call sheet will allow you to manage your time effectively, involved participants and overall production workflow.
I’d suggest including the following items in your call sheet:
- Shoot Dates / Times
- Shoot Locations
- Weather Forecast (if filming outside)
- Crew and Talent Details
- Detailed Schedule times
- Equipment List
Because we know that seeing is believing, here’s a glimpse to a couple of pages from our call sheet template. The sections highlighted in red are all the parts we will amend prior to each shoot.
Something we tried to stay conscious of was the interviewee’s schedules. It’s important to secure your talent’s time, no matter how small of a role they play in the shoot. Chances are that your interviewee has a busy schedule, so be flexible and also be sensitive to the fact that it may take some time for them to get comfortable on camera.
There you have it! It’s important to remember that the pre-production process will scale with the size of your video. But, in the end, it’s all really just about capturing those special moments that set you apart from the competition. If you get all of your thoughts and scheduling down on paper during this phase, you’ll be just fine.
And, in case you’re interested, here’s the SWA video that we created.